Supplementary feeding has proven to be a successful conservation tool for many species, including New Zealand’s hihi (stitchbird, Notiomystis cincta). Previous research has shown supplementary feeding to substantially increase hihi reproductive success at regenerating forest sites, but suggested that it would have reduced benefit in mature forest habitat. Here we report the first direct test of the effect of supplementary feeding on hihi reproductive success in mature forest, using data from the recently reintroduced population at Maungatautari Ecological Island.
Age and structure of local vegetation (habitat complexity) are commonly assumed to be indicators of habitat quality for breeding birds, but for many species these relationships are poorly understood. The hihi (stitchbird Notiomystis cincta),an endangered New Zealand cavity-nesting passerine that only survives on mammalian predator-free islands or within fenced areas, has been the focus of intensive conservation management and research. Between 1992 and 2004 we examined the fledging success of 347 nests from four island populations.